uid

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” -A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholar Usha Ramanathan describes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017


Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10504 - Legal Tussle Over Mandatory-Voluntary Nature of Aadhaar Kicks Off Next Week - The Wire



On October 7, the Supreme Court will begin to hear long-pending petitions that deal with a number of issues surrounding the biometric authentication system.

The petitions deal with the legality of mass collection of citizen data, potential privacy violations and whether or not Aadhaar enrolment could be made mandatory. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Nearly one year after the Supreme Court declared that Aadhaar enrolment would be “purely voluntary”, the stage is set again for a set of court hearings that will make or break the Modi government’s aim of making Aadhaar integration mainstream.

On October 7, the Supreme Court will hear the first of a group of contempt and other long-pending petitions that deal with a number of issues surrounding the biometric authentication system.

These petitions – filed by prominent members of civil society such as Aruna Roy, Bezwada Wilson and Justice (Retd) Puttassamy, and represented legally by senior advocates such as Soli Sorabjee, Shyam Divan and Gopal Subramanium – deal with the legality of mass collection of citizen data, potential privacy violations and finally whether or not Aadhaar enrolment could be made mandatory.

The first contempt petition to be heard was filed by Colonel (retd) Mathew Thomas through advocate Aishwarya Bhati; the senior advocate for the petition is former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium.

“Ours is a plain legal contempt petition against heads of [two] government bodies and institutions. The first is the Indian Oil Corporation which has issued circulars for Aadhaar seeding in the case of LPG subsidies and the other is the University Grants Commission which has tried to make Aadhaar mandatory for scholarships,” said Prasanna S., a lawyer who is part of Bhati’s legal team.

In early 2014, the Indian Oil Corporation made Aadhaar enrolment mandatory in a de facto manner; officials pointed out to reporters at the time while there were no public statements that declared Aadhaar was mandatory to receive subsidies, there were also “no other methods to receive or avail of the LPG subsidy”. The University Grants Commission has also similarly flip-flopped over the issue of Aadhaar in the last few months.
“Our petition was actually listed for the Friday before last, but was deleted and taken off the list without us receiving an official reason. It is now listed for a hearing next Friday although it could get preponed to next Monday,” Prasanna said.

Need for contempt
Contempt petitions like this are aimed at creating deterrence, according to legal experts. Why is there a need for deterrence though?

Over the last year, since the Supreme Court’s interim order, there has been much confusion over to what extent the Aadhaar card system can be applied in government programmes. In late 2015 the Supreme Court clearly stated that Aadhaar enrolment had to remain voluntary until the “court decided one way or the other”. A few weeks ago, however, the government notified the Aadhaar Act, which according to Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi deals with the Supreme Court’s concerns and paves the way for mandatory usage.

A Supreme Court order last week last week that restricted the mandatory usage of Aadhaar when it comes to disbursal of student scholarships appears to reaffirm its earlier order and raise doubts over whether the efficacy of the Aadhaar Act.
More importantly, other issues such as privacy and the legality of widespread data collection have yet to be addressed by the Supreme Court. In August 2015, Rohatagi raised doubts over the “existence of a fundamental right to privacy” during hearings on the Aadhaar system and ultimately it was decided that these issues would be decided by a larger bench.

The upcoming hearings, according to legal experts and government officials The Wire spoke with, will decide the future of the Aadhaar identification system in India. A partial list of the petitions pending before the Supreme Court are listed below:

Petition
Petitioner(s)
Senior Advocate(s)
WP (c) 494/2012
Justice (Retd) Puttassamy
Anil Divan and Soli Sorabjee
WP (C) 829/2012
SG Vombatkere & Bezwada Wilson
Shyam Divan
W.P.(C) 833/2013
Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey
Nithya Ramakrishnan
W.P. (C) 932/2013
Nagrik Chetna Manch
Anup Bhambhani
T.C.(C) 152/2013
Vikram Crishna
Meenakshi Arora
T.C.(C) 151/2013
S. Raju

W.P.(C) 37/2015
Mathew Thomas
Gopal Subramanium

Another crucial petition about the Aadhaar Act specifically has been filed by Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, which questions the act’s money bill route is also expected to be heard in the coming month.